Believe it or not, kids and adults go through two different types of sleep, REM and NON-REM. NON-REM stands for "Non-rapid eye movement", while REM stands for "Rapid Eye Movement". We all go through 5 different stages of sleep at night as well. NON-REM is the first 4 stages and makes up 75% of our sleep:
Stage One: Your child has entered into a light sleep that last around 5 - 10 minutes. This is the drowsy stage where he can be easily awaken and feel as though he had never fallen asleep.
Stage Two: Your child's heart beat slows down and body temperature starts to decrease.
Stage Three and Four: There is no longer any eye movement or muscle activity. Your child has fallen into a deep sleep and if awaken, he may feel groggy or confused.
Stage Five (REM Sleep): The brain is racing a thousand miles per hour but paralysis occurs simultaneously in the muscle groups and our children have dozed off into dream land. Many believe that the muscles become paralyze during REM sleep, to stop us and our children from acting out on our dreams and putting ourselves at risk.
Children can reach all five stages and get the proper amount of sleep, it just takes some time and a little patience. A great way to start is developing a night-time routine for your child. This routine should be the same hour every night, nothing more and nothing less. The right routine will get their bodies feeling tired and ready for bed at the same hour every night. It is always a good idea to begin the winding down process an hour before you want them in bed, just to not catch them off-guard.
Here are just a couple more tips that will help your child sleep through the night, and not to mention yourself as well:
No caffeine or sugary foods or drinks, a few hours before bedtime. Sugar affects the body in almost the same way as caffeine, they both will shorten the amount of sleep.
Avoid watching scary movies or TV shows while children are at home. Does not matter if the child is in another room and cannot see the movie, they can still hear the television and this can cause them to have nightmares.
Keep their bedroom clean and clutter free. Clutter is very distracting, especially for children. Purchase toy boxes or kids storage boxes for their toys. Storage boxes come in many cool colors and designs that kids will love to keep their toys in. Have a laundry basket for their clothes and waste baskets for trash.
Clean and comfortable bedding. Bedding should be washed at least twice a week, to keep "bed bugs" away. Choose bedding that is made of 100% Cotton. Cotton is always more breathable and comfortable for our little ones.
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